Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Breeding of oil-seed pumpkins

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.03.01  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production  Agricultural plants 

Code Science Field
B225  Biomedical sciences  Plant genetics 

Code Science Field
4.04  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agricultural biotechnology 
breeding of oil-seed pumpkins; hybrid varieties; hetesosis
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (8)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  09565  PhD Borut Bohanec  Biotechnology  Head  2011 - 2014  592 
2.  17787  Viktorija Dolenc    Technical associate  2011 - 2014 
3.  16240  PhD Anton Ivančič  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  224 
4.  33174  PhD Kristina Košmrlj  Plant production  Junior researcher  2011 - 2014  16 
5.  24413  PhD Jana Murovec  Biotechnology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  169 
6.  18684  PhD Metka Šiško  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  158 
7.  28251  PhD Andreja Urbanek Krajnc  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  224 
8.  15577  Nevenka Valič  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  89 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,273 
2.  0482  University of Maribor, Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences  Hoče  5089638004  9,888 
The project constitutes the start of a attempts for breeding oil seed pumpkins. The need for research comes from the cultivation needs, since production of oil pumpkins in Slovenia and abroad continues to grow, mainly due to increased knowledge of culinary and medicinal effects of pumpkin seed oil. The project aims to collect the appropriate genetic material (genepool) for the breeding of hybrid varieties and populations of oilseed pumpkin. Genotypes showing positive recombination value  of the desired properties such as high favorable ratio of seed / pumpkin yield and favorable recovery of oil wwill be selected. To achieve higher yields and quality, several  key factors such as determination of genotypes with increased resistance to major diseases and pests and genotypes tolerant to heat stress and thus adaptable to different cultivation environments will be studied. Major emphasize will be on establishment of  procedures for  breeding of hybrid varieties  including creation of pure lines using the two procedures (haploidy induction, self pollination), shortening the generation interval, examining the optimal conditions and techniques for test crosses and identification of heterotic effect. By acquiring genepool and procedures in the project will  complete the first phase of plant breeding and allow the continuation of the process aimed for creation of modern oilseed pumpkin  cultivars .
Significance for science
We have developed numerous analytical methods and improved breeding techniques, which will be used for further scientific research of oil pumpkins and other cultivated species. The number of oil pumpkin varieties is rather limited, beside older open pollinated varieties recently several hybrid cultivares have been introduced as a result of foreing breeding company. Within the project we obtained a large genofond of oil pumpkins which served as base for breeding attempts. The analysis of genetic variability showed closer relationship between the Slovenian variety 'Slovenian golica' and the Austrian population variety 'Gleisdorfer Ölkürbis'. During the duration of the project, an assortment of oil pumpkins was established, the methodology of crossing was improved and the efficiency of selection was increased. Furthermore, a method of generating clean lines was developed and the effects of heterosis assessed. The results obtained during the project were published in six original scientific articles (Murovec et al. 2012; Košmrlj et al. 2013; Košmrlj et al. 2014a; Košmrlj et al. 2014b; Murovec 2015; Urbanek Krajnc et al., in press) and presented on numerous conferences in Slovenia and abroad. During the project we: 1. Developed a haploid induction technique for obtaining homozygous lines of oil pumpkins. In this regard we also optimized the procedure of pollen irradiation. 2. Developed a method for shortening generation time of oil pumpkins through in vitro culture of immature embryos. 3. Analysed genetic similarity among pumpkins with mutated seed coats. 4. Qualitative and quantitative screening of antioxidants (tocopherols, glutathione, ascorbate) and pigments (carotenoids, prochlorophyllide) in seeds of interspecies hybrids with the aim to increase the beneficial impact of seeds and oil on human health status. 5. Spatial and temporal analyses of daily maximum temperature within pumpkin fruits (exocarp, mesocarp and endocarps) was performed in order to determine the relationship between the fruit color and overheating of fruits as well as their development during the summer period. Yellow fruit colour types were selected for this purpose. 6. Obtained complex interspecies hybrids, which are the restuls of hybridization of more than two Cucurbita species and involves also the wild species C. okeechobeensis.
Significance for the country
Oil pumpkins are extremely important for the western and especially the NW part of Slovenia. In the market, it is possible to find relatively good varieties (classical population varieties and hybrids). One of the main problems associated with the existing varieties is particularly high sensitivity to diseases (especially viruses) and environmental changes (during recent years we have experienced several repeating events of extreme humidity, severe drought and heat stress). On the other hand, the production technology has changed significantly and organic production is gaining popularity. The organic production requires vigorous early growth, so that leaves cover the surface of the soil as soon as possible and in this way prevent the development of weeds. Organic farming methods also require stable genetic resistance to diseases and pests. The aim of our work is the creation of varieties and hybrids which will be adapted to our specific environments and suitable for organic farming. The breeding lines are roughly formed and chemically evaluated. They need to be finalised and tested in the production. One of the lines could be shortly submitted to variety testing. It will present the first modern Slovenian variety of oil pumpkin which would be resistant to biotic and abiotic stress. The other genotypes could be released in following years. During this project five students were trained in the field of modern plant breeding of oil-seed pumpkins. The results of the project are facilitating the scientific and technological approaches for pumpkin breeding and provide advances needed to meet the challenges facing Slovenian agriculture. The project results encompass several strategic goals of Slovenian agriculture, such as enhancing economic opportunities for agricultural producers and to increase the competitiveness of Slovene agriculture.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2012, 2013, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2013, final report
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